A Moorlands vet is set to trek the Pennine Way all in aid of charity. Tracy Latham, who lives in Threapwood, has set herself the challenge of trekking the Pennine Way in just eight days.
A Moorlands vet is set to trek the Pennine Way all in aid of charity.
Tracy Latham, who lives in Threapwood, has set herself the challenge of trekking the Pennine Way in just eight days.
Tracy is aiming to raise £10,000 for the NHS Spinal team at University Hospital of North Midlands (UHNM) Charity in honour of her mum Helena Latham who suffers from major back issues.
Tracy, who works at Moorland Veterinary Centre in Leek as a Veterinary surgeon – mixed practice vet, used to work at Lime Trees Vets in Cheadle.
Here she explains why she has decided to take on the trekking challenge:
For as long as I can remember, Mum has suffered with debilitating back pain, but she has never given up.
She has had numerous surgeries throughout the length of her spine, starting in May 2006, aged 57. Thankfully, this was a success and Mum wrote in her letter of thanks at the time: “Since 2002 my quality of life had deteriorated and I was in pain night and day. I lived on pain killers. Life was an existence. Thank you for giving me my life back.”
Unfortunately, in December 2007 Mum took an acute turn for the worse when she was hospitalised with severe lumbar/ deferred hip pain. In 2013, further surgery of the lower spine was successful. Mum fought back once again and made the most of her less painful years. However, with progressive deterioration in other areas of the spine, the pain increased and quality of life significantly declined.
Subsequent surgeries, have resulted in implant rejection, loosening, and protrusion with associated debilitation and disability. Mum has taken maximum recommended doses of multiple forms of analgesia for many years, to try and alleviate the pain, and now she has increasingly compromised kidneys. She currently lives from day to day, with some days being marginally better than others but none pain free.
Despite all of this we cannot thank the Consultants enough for their perseverance and effort to try and alleviate her pain. They have never given up on her, and I think we were all hoping that the operation in September 2020, with alternative implant stabilisation, would be Mum’s final surgery to finally improve her quality-of-life long term.
And in fact, Mum was making great progress with dedicated and determined daily physio and treadmill rehab. Then, tragically, Christmas Eve 2020, one of the rods in her spine snapped and once more Mum is in agony. At the time of writing this (February, 2021) Mum is prioritised for correction surgery once Covid is more controllable.
My Mum, Helena Latham, is a truly amazing woman, who used to love the simple things in life such as walking, seeing and being around friends and family. Now, once again, she just has pain every waking moment and even at night it is pain that wakes her. She looks out the window watching people walk by – “All I want to be able to do is put one foot in front of the other without pain.” She breaks down, but it is only ever me who sees this side of her, because to everyone else she puts on a brave face, because she doesn’t want to feel a burden.
My Dad, 76 this year, is incredible. He is primary carer for both Mum and Paula, my mentally handicapped sister. I help where I can remotely, due to work commitments, and go home at weekends.
I am doing this challenge (hopefully with Mum as my support crew) to raise funds as our way of saying thank you to our amazing NHS and giving back something for all that they have done for Mum.
This truly lovely lady is still so willing and determined in mind but unfortunately is now so crippled physically. She, as lots of other people do, deserve the opportunity to experience a more pain-free living rather than an existence/ suffering that some days you wouldn’t put an animal through.
Mum is extremely brave, an inspiration, and I am so proud of her. It is for this reason I will never give up on her, and why I will do all 268 miles of the Pennine Way in eight days for what will be our greatest and most worthy cause yet.
As the 2007 London Marathon motto goes: “Impossible is Nothing.”
Every penny raised is greatly appreciated and will go towards the NHS Spinal team at North Staffs Hospital.
Anyone wishing to sponsor Tracy can do so by going online to: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage.
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